GHI PPO or EPO doesn't require referrals, but last I knew GHI HMO did. (Healthy NY offers all of these plans.) Blue Cross Blue Shield thru Healthy NY is an HMO, and DEFINITELY requires referrals. HIP also needs referrals. HealthNet does not need referrals. MVP and Oxford can go either way, depending on what you select. Many of the plans these days are getting away form referrals because they're kind of a hassle. But, if the plan has HMO anywhere in the name or type of plan, bet that you'll need a referral.
If you have a chapter of Maternal Infant Services Network in your area - I know there's one in Orange County, and one in Rockland County. They'd be listed in your white pages. They can help you sign up for these plans if you're not working with an insurance agent.Answer 2
HIP is pretty good, try the one in Forest Hills.